A New Dawn in the Negev

A New Dawn in the Negev is a community development organisation promoting coexistence and equality among all residents of the Negev, Israel.
Last updated: May 2015


A New Dawn in the Negev is a Bedouin-Jewish community development organisation based in Rahat, Israel. A New Dawn believes that education, employment, and leadership are the key elements to help youth and young adults rise out of poverty and become active engaged citizens invested in civil society.

As a community-based organisation, A New Dawn is intrinsically attuned to the challenges and opportunities of Arab Bedouin society from the grassroots level. The Bedouin community of Israel’s Negev region is a marginalised, indigenous population marked by low socio-economic resources, both in relation to Israel’s mainstream population and its Arab non-Bedouin counterparts. Rahat is the largest Bedouin community in Israel and its only Bedouin city. With a population of 80,000, 66% of whom are under eighteen and 80% under thirty, meaningful tools for leadership development and social engagement are of paramount importance to community development. A New Dawn's diverse programming directly addresses these concerns.

Youth from Rahat volunteered with A New Dawn in the Negev to paint houses for families on Good Deeds Day 2015. Image credit: A New Dawn Youth from Rahat volunteered with A New Dawn in the Negev to paint houses for families on Good Deeds Day 2015. Image credit: A New Dawn

A New Dawn: its founding story

Jamal Alkirnawi is A New Dawn’s founder and executive director. The organisation is a manifestation of his desire to raise the level of education for the Bedouin community in Israel’s Negev region. A social activist since youth, Jamal is a son of Rahat, who rose up through the university system, integrating his own experiences and successes to become the academic counselor for Arab students at Ben-Gurion University, where he worked for 7 years.

A professional social worker, Jamal has extensive experience as well as a bachelor’s degree in public health administration and 2 graduate degrees: a master’s in social work with a specialisation in peacebuilding from McGill, in Canada, and a social leadership MBA from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. Powered by passion and a vision for a better future for Rahat, Jamal founded A New Dawn in 2009.

AND pic 1 A New Dawn uses the arts and language to work with young people in Negev and promote a peaceful society. Image credit: A New Dawn.

Jamal believes that the key to Rahat's development is through superior educational and leadership opportunities for all children, youth, and young adults. A high quality of education will prevent the city's steep drop-out rate and high unemployment; teaching Bedouin youth to become responsible, ethical, and committed citizens of their communities. This process must begin in infancy, he asserts, combating the gaps between Arabs and Jews that begin at birth and continue throughout their lives.

Education, employment, activism, and leadership development are the pillars of A New Dawn’s work, which is committed to these ideals and believes they should be the highest of public priorities.

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A New Dawn's work has also been profiled in the Baltimore Jewish Times and JNS.[/more_info_box]

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